Lyle attracting attention from across Minnesota

Article Type: 
Publication Date: 
Wednesday, May 8, 1991
Publication Date Is Approx: 

Like other Lyle residents, Nancy Williamson was busy last week.

Saturday was a communitywide cleanup day, and she spent a good chunk of Friday preparing for the event. There were last-minute details to tend to.

Such as cleaning out her own garage.

Williamson had been drumming up publicity for the event, even outside of the Mower County community, which sits just north of the Iowa border.

``We're doing everything we can do to promote Lyle,'' said Williamson, Lyle's city clerk, director of development and grant administrator. ``We're alive and growing and we want everyone to know it.''

It's not surprising that Williamson is high on Lyle. But the rest of the state is beginning to take notice, too.

For the past several years, Lyle leaders have worked tirelessly on ways to improve, beautify and promote their city. Their efforts recently paid off when the community won three awards from the Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development, more awards than any other community.

Lyle's awards included the 1990 Minnesota Beautiful/Community Pride award for communities with a population between 400 and 699, and two Land O' Lakes Community Achievement Project Awards, one for arts and humanities, the other for community fund-raising.

Lyle, population 504, won the arts award for the formation of a community library at city hall, and the fund-raising award for the Lyle Walk of Pride.

Lyle residents seem to take particular delight in the Walk of Pride, located in the city park. For $10, anyone can purchase a brick and have an artist handpaint the names of individuals, families or businesses on the brick. The bricks are making their way around the gazebo bandshell. Nearly 100 have been laid and nearly 300 have been sold.

Such projects drew the attention of competition judges.

One wrote of Lyle's entry that the community is ``a most incredible place and people . . . where camaraderie and vision are contagious.''

Jane Leonard, a management analyst for the Minnesota Department of Trade and Economic Development, said cities such as Lyle ``have set the pace for other Minnesota communities.''

Lyle's various community proj-ects are part of a unified vision. Various committees are working under the umbrella of Lyle 2000, a communitywide effort to focus efforts on the development of the city.

In recent years, Lyle has received some $2 million in state, federal and private grants for a variety of projects, including a new wastewater treatment plant and various improvements, including the rehabiliation of 40 homes.

By ``sprucing up the town,'' Lyle is hoping to attract new industry to the community. It also hopes to attract more tourists to the area, calling itself the southwest entrance to Historic Bluff Country.

Williamson said the community isn't basing hopes of growth on a large industry that could move in, then possibly leave within several years, but on small, home-grown businesses.

``We want to have a hand in directing our future rather than having the future direct us,'' she said. ``We've adopted the attitude, `If it's going to be, it's up to me.' ''